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02-11-2004
  31
flaunt the imperfection
 
softgrey's Avatar
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by helena@Nov 2 2004, 04:24 AM
what do you mean? why?
[snapback]414709[/snapback]
mostly i think it is the jetlag...too many time zones...not enough time...
also the changing season...

but if you ever come over...you'll see...ny-ers don't generally dress the way i do...i look far more 'normal' on the streets of europe...i get stared at a lot over here...not necessarily in a bad way...but it can get to you if you're not in the mood...

i usually wear stuff 2-3 yrs before everyone else starts to...sometimes even more...

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06-01-2008
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What to wear when you're 30-something
After a fashion



What is a thirtysomething former Vogue editor to do when her look stops making sense? Jo Craven on her exhausting search for a new wearable wardrobe

Friday January 4, 2008
The Guardian


Jo Craven: 'Suddenly, my clothes had become unwearable'. Photograph: Graeme Robertson


Last September, as I was about to leave my job of five years as features editor at Vogue, I spotted the much-lauded jacket of 2007 that had been called in for a shoot - the Balenciaga blazer. Ever since it was first seen on the catwalk last spring, it had been referenced non-stop in the fashion world, and cost around £1,500. I could never afford it. I just wanted to see what it looked like on. I squeezed my arms into the sleeves, but became instantly, comically stuck. I couldn't take it off. I was like one of Cinderella's ugly sisters; a flushed, undignified sight - particularly as at least one other editor had just tried it on without incident.


Several minutes of sweaty hysteria later, and after gentle tugging by two colleagues, my arms were free again. But perhaps this was the moment when, for me, fashion began to stop making sense. It wasn't so much the price of the jacket that alarmed me (nothing strange about rare things costing more), but I did take against the fact that it was unwearable for someone like me.
It is now three months since I resigned from Vogue. And almost every day since, I've felt the effect of not dressing for work in that office on my morning ritual. Where once I flung my wardrobe doors open and got dressed in minutes - perhaps a sample-sale Chanel skirt with a Topshop blouse and an old army belt - now I dither and feel drawn to basics such as jeans and cardigans. I wonder if, at 37, I am starting to feel old. My wardrobe had been fine for the Vogue office, where everyone had some individual narrative going on - whether it was the Famous Five impersonator in the art room (shorts with socks and sandals) or the fashion-room assistant dressed as if perpetually ready to board a private jet, but who would probably go home on the bus to her flatmates.
It was a largely female office and, although black and wardrobe staples such as jeans were popular, there would always be a fashion message of clever understatement in these seemingly simple outfits. It was also an office where it was permissible to spend time cooing over crazy shoes or marvelling at the clever design of a pair of jeans. Fashion was all around us, in towers of look books, weighing down rails in corridors and tumbling out of returns bags. There were discounts and invites to sample sales that I rarely resisted, and my hauls now filled my incoherent wardrobe.
But I'd given up the job as a "lifestyle" choice, to move with my husband and two toddlers to build an eco house by the seaside in Suffolk, about as far from my previous life and house in Hackney, north London, as it's possible to go, as long as you discount the number of film directors who seem to have second homes in our village. This was a new life of freelance writing from home and commuting two days a week to London for a new-generation dotcom where, apart from the CEO's dad, I am the oldest employee.
In my new life, I pull down my suitcase on Monday for my night away from home. When I open my wardrobe to pack for the next two days, the confusion sets in. I struggle to put together outfits. My vintage leopard print blouse looks less jokey Cavalli and a bit Barry Manilow. My trusted Ferragamo patents aren't retro-quirky any more: they make me look like my mum. My jewellery, which used to be witty, now looks tacky. They may not have been perfect clothes in the first place but the protective enclave of the Vogue office had given me confidence to leave home wearing them. Suddenly, my clothes have become as unwearable in the life I am now living as any narrow-sleeved blazer. I've swapped a social life of first nights and fashion parties for the sound of crashing waves. I need a new wardrobe. I still want to be fashionable, but don't want to look like I've bought up the entire Toast back catalogue.
As I began my research for clothes that would make sense, one thing became clear: in your mid-30s, the fashion world isn't exactly directing the conversation to you. In fashion terms, you are caught between two stools. You can't ram-raid the high street for your clothes, like most 20-year-olds, because the older you get the cheaper clothes look. (Although a judicious selection of the best pieces sprinkled through your wardrobe still makes sense.) And both cheap clothes and pointless spending now leave a bad ethical taste - most people are trying to curb the habit. You also understand the allure of investment pieces that could see you through a few seasons. Fortunately, you're still too young to qualify as a "grey pound" spender, unless you fancy looking a bit prematurely Saga magazine, or want to wear some nice cashmere. You are, basically, no one's target fashion audience - so you need to be as canny as can be to stay in the conversation without soliciting unkind mutterings of, "Gosh, she looks different."
When I hunted for inspiration in magazines, where just months before I'd seen flights of fantasy I now saw clothes that needed decoding, and not just because the models were all 20 years younger than me. The clothes seemed to be as well. Over-the-knee socks are definitely fun, but on me? It wasn't me getting boring and just wanting wearable clothes: that sounds a snore, like advocating elastic waistbands. The challenge was translating looks that could also work in the country - without looking as though I was trying to "do" country. No Fair Isle Brora cardigans, thanks.
Most women I quizzed about fashion said that they knew their 30s were meant to be a time to fulfil all those years of experimentation and to cement their style. They were meant to have learned all the rules, for better or worse, and to play by them. One said it was like reading a book, then turning the page and finding there was a whole chapter missing. If you didn't want to look like a yummy mummy in silk jersey dresses or to channel your inner sexy secretary with pencil skirts, blouses and belts, what was left for you? I'm all for women not giving into the ageism of dress codes and wearing whatever makes them feel good, but the truth is it's easier to find great clothes to wear when you're 50 than in your 30s. What used to excite me about the fashion world, where the pace of the collections meant you could never catch your breath and where buying a winter coat starts in August, now exhausts me. I've been shopping and settled for classics: a navy blue polo neck, a navy blue coat and a navy blue silk blouse. I think fashion may have stopped making sense. I'm going to wait until I'm 50 before wrestling with it again.

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07-01-2008
  33
flaunt the imperfection
 
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it's sort of sad...
she is just complaining but she didn't offer any really good options...

okay-
just play it safe and wear classic styles in navy blue...
hmmmm...
so very english!!!...or very ralph lauren...


...

not particularly clever or interesting....
you'd have thought that all those years of vogue would mean she would have a bit more to offer women in her same situation...

thanks for sharing mm...

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07-01-2008
  34
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I wonder if a bit of the problem was that her choices thus far were not self-directed, but made in the context of knowing she was going to that Vogue office. Or perhaps it's that the fashion-world umbilical cord has been abruptly severed at what is certainly an awkward time.

I agree, navy blue is not the answer in my world

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07-01-2008
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interesting article, thanks for posting =)

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07-01-2008
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Thanks for the article

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07-01-2008
  37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fashionista-ta View Post
I wonder if a bit of the problem was that her choices thus far were not self-directed, but made in the context of knowing she was going to that Vogue office.
you hit the nail on the head.

i disagree with her that interesting clothing is so terribly hard to find for 30-somethings. and i also do not understand why, to her, getting older or moving to the country MUST involve converting your wardrobe to staid classics only...

what, really, is the point of this article?

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07-01-2008
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Hmmm kind of a sad article, isn't it?
And somewhat strange for someone who worked at Vogue...

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07-01-2008
  39
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interesting and so sad
It is odd that having worked at vogue she was not able to find the true answer but merely adressed the problem...

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07-01-2008
  40
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nice article.

i think she is just reflecting on her old wardrobe and style in light of a new lifestyle. kind of sentimental.

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07-01-2008
  41
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not terribly helpful, but interesting all the same
thanks for sharing!

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07-01-2008
  42
once more, with feeling
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eeyore View Post
nice article.

i think she is just reflecting on her old wardrobe and style in light of a new lifestyle. kind of sentimental.
agreed.

seems like she was at a loss once she was out of her familiar environment. i can see how that can happen to anybody, Vogue editor or no. i often think of style as camouflage, to help you blend into your environment.

I think being a Vogue editor made her even more a person of her environment. Where personal style is trend-driven, not personal.

I really liked her second point of being in her 30s and not finding clear direction. considering the several threads i've encountered on how to dress in your 30s, or what length skirt is appropriate at x age, i think that's something that many of us could relate to. i thought she had a good point.

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07-01-2008
  43
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I liked this article, and I agree with the others who said that her fashion choices were a product of her surroundings - and it can be very disconcerting when those surroundings are drastically changed.

I do wish she had offered an answer besides reverting to tried-and-true classics. There is nothing wrong with them, of course, but they can get boring. Just because you have reached your thirties doesn't mean you have to stick with the classics if that isn't your style. Although I do agree that one's personal style tends to get more refined as they get older - but again, refined doesn't mean boring.

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08-01-2008
  44
Power to the 99%
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crepebacksatin View Post
you hit the nail on the head.

i disagree with her that interesting clothing is so terribly hard to find for 30-somethings. and i also do not understand why, to her, getting older or moving to the country MUST involve converting your wardrobe to staid classics only...

what, really, is the point of this article?
I think it is about her own personal identity crisis ... talk about a personal essay with applicability to exactly one person I always thought the human experience was universal, and here she goes proving me wrong

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16-01-2008
  45
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I have found that as I approached and subsequently passed 30, my fashion world has opened up in many ways because I finally have the confidence to wear the tailored and more soignee styles I'd always admired, but felt too conspicuous in as a younger woman.

I have had to re-tool my wardrobe pretty significantly in the last five years or so, it's true, but I have still retained quite a bit of my signature funkiness with bright colors and interesting tights, I just wear longer skirts and tops which show much less flesh. Technically, I have a good enough figure for more revealing clothing, but dressing all skimpy feels very "incorrect," both in regards to my age and to my lifestyle. I don't need to flaunt it all anyway. Decently fitted clothes will hint at what's going on beneath in a way that might be more sexy in its subtlety.

I love being able to mix up "classics" with some of the sillier elements of my old wardrobe. I think that because I have had a strong personal style for many years, and have a good understanding of what works for my figure and complexion, letting my personal style evolve with my age and lifestyle changes has been a gradual, painless, and even kind of fun process. Getting a more "professional" job last year gave me an excuse to have a thrift-store shopping spree and lay in a supply of tailored jackets, cute little suits, and lovely cashmere sweaters. I always feel nicely put together, but I always incorporate a little unconventionality in my outfits. Unusual tights, costume jewelry, or hair accessories help me keep "business-casual" interesting and fun.

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